Successful Lead Gen Strategies for B2B Marketers
Quality versus Quantity
The success of a marketing program is too often judged by the quantity, rather than the quality, of leads produced. But when it comes to converting leads to revenue, the sales force will tell you that more isn’t necessarily better – better is better. Every organization needs to find the right balance between quantity and quality. Too many leads, even of high quality, and an overwhelmed sales team will be forced to allow opportunities to fall through the cracks. But first things first: Work with a vendor that offers high quality sites that you know your users have an affinity for. Look out for trusted brands in your industry and that is where the sophisticated buyers are doing their research and getting influenced on purchasing decisions.
Distance from click to sale
In B2B Lead gen, the goal is to make a lead, not an immediate sale. Once you have the business buyer, you often have them for life. Large enterprise technology systems, once implemented, are harder to remove. A successful B2B marketer needs to nail initial logistics, click-through, and information capture on a landing page, in a similar fashion. Thoughtful lead nurturing and relationship building is often required to close a sale on a lead collected through a campaign. The important thing is to get the lead in the door first. Test out different assets, creatives and landing pages. Does a short form work better than a long form for your product? Are you hitting the user with too many “optional” questions, causing a high drop off rate and loss of a potentially good lead? Is there a different segment of buyer that you can deliver a different message to appeal to their decision making process?
Marketing copy must talk to a sophisticated audience. Your typical reader has a high interest in – and understanding of – your product (or at least of the problem it solves). The business buyer is an information-seeker, constantly on the lookout for information and advice that can help the buyer do the job better, increase profits, or advance his/her career. Therefore, writing marketing copy is more complex and requires research to ensure you deliver the necessary information to the buyer or influencer.
Defining a compelling message for your target audience and delivering it in the right voice is difficult. Which buttons should you push? A business purchase is usually a team effort, with many players involved and is rarely an “impulse” buy. Many people influence the decision – from the purchasing agent and company president, to technical professionals and end-users. Each of these audiences has different concerns and criteria by which they judge you. To be successful, your copy must address the needs of all parties involved with the decision. In many cases, this may require multiple messages to different influencers even within the same company. Identify the business problem your prospect has. It could be lack of sales or increasing costs. There’s also the challenge of crafting a subject line that captures one or both of these key message points and different points of the engagement process.
The disparity continues in the number and quality of users that are being targeted via different mediums, such as websites, email newsletters, dedicated emails, research libraries, co-registration. Try to test different messages to different audience segments. If your product can service both small and large sized organizations, create two different campaigns with different sets of assets and optimize your messaging based on these lists. Listing a product on a website may not resonate to the buyer as much as a targeted email would.
Build the B2B Relationship
Sales cycles for B2B products are often very long and you often have a small, focused target market
to work with. The key is to reach people as early in their buying process as possible and leverage rational buying decisions based on business value. That’s where you have the biggest influence. Ideally, a lead generation cycle would have your sales people seek out potential buyers even before he/she knows they are in need of buying. But that’s not reasonable On the other hand, it’s not effective to wait until they are narrowing their short list before calling them. The purchase of most business products is a multistep buying process. A vice president of marketing doesn’t clip a coupon and sign up for an annual analytics package subscription for $50,000. First he asks for a brochure, then a sales meeting, then a demonstration, then a 30-day trial and finally a proposal or contract. Thus, it is not a single piece of copy that wins the contract award. Rather, it takes a series of emails, ads and continually nurturing to turn a cold lead into a paying customer. Utilize educational and awareness building activities, such as white papers and webinars, to continually educate and inform buyers of their choices. Try to appeal to fixing their “pain points” during known phases of their purchasing cycle.
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